Wednesday, September 21, 2011


"Spitbeard" here was made at the request of a dear friend, and is fully known as "Spitbeard the Trail Demon." 

A little back story:  I have made several sculptures for people of their "Inner Demon."  And by demon, I just mean the shadow self.  I feel that bringing the shadow self into the light of our 3-dimensional sensory reality through art, and embracing it and loving it, has healing power.  Spitbeard is the first time I've done this in tapestry form.

Spitbeard comes from a friend who took an epic journey: he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail.  This is no trivial little hike, but a grueling test of self that takes months of planning and preparation, traversing the entire west coast through California, Oregon and Washington, starting from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada.  I can barely fathom how much epic beauty his eyes and soul absorbed as his brutalized feet carried him and a backpack 20 plus miles a day through mountains, desert, valleys, snow.

I'm a walker, and have been since I was a small child, introduced to the pleasure of a long walk by my grandfather way back when there were still fragrant orange groves in San Bernardino county.  One thing I have come to know is that long walks are a place where you can really come face to face with your true self, dark and light. 

Spitbeard started as a painting.
When my friend came back from the Pacific Crest Trail he was literally re-entering the frantic energy of San Francisco from another planet.  He was beautiful, and at the same time, his eyes had a touch of "far away crazy". . . and his beard!  John Muir would have been proud.

My buddy has experienced some dark places, both within and without, including Iraq.  But I got the idea (though I haven't asked) that he worked through a lot of things on the trail, learning to love the shadow that walked beside him.  Right after he got back I painted what that shadow looks like to me:  a little scary, but joyously, devilishly playful and wise. 

As I've gotten deeper into creating with wool, he asked me if I could sculpt Spitbeard.  I said I would do it.  I was only doing three dimensional figurines at the time and that's how I was going to do Spitbeard.  But I never felt "moved" to do it and it got delayed and I expect he thought it wasn't going to happen.  But recently my buddy and I hung out with another friend who is a roadie for Ween, and who is the King of Beards.  It was a whiskey fueled debauch off the richter scale, but we came out of it with just what we needed to make Spitbeard into a reality.

Good times, guys.  Spitbeard knows how to party. 

Spitbeard:  seen so much, and so hardcore he got his eye pierced.

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